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Devotional - week of February 15, 2009


NO ONENESS--NO NEW COVENANT

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

In 2 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul is contrasting the covenant that God made with Israel at Mount Sinai with the new covenant that Jesus brought into being. Paul testifies that his ministry of the new covenant is of the Spirit and not of the letter.

The agreement in the old covenant was that God would give commands and the Israelites would obey them in their own strength and wisdom. Three times the Israelites said, “what God says we will do" (Exodus 19:8; Exodus 24:3 and Exodus 24:7). This agreement is what Paul refers to with the words “of the letter.”

When someone encourages another Christian to obey some command of the Bible without telling him how Christ will obey the command in and through him, he is promoting the old covenant approach. He may say, “Ask God to help you.” Even this, though, is not the new covenant way. In Romans 8:3, Paul says that living the old covenant way is living in the flesh, which is living by faith in ourselves and creates all types of spiritual problems.

Paul’s ministry was “of the Spirit” and not “of the letter” because he was experiencing his oneness with Christ that resulted in the spiritual crucifixion of his flesh. When one experiences the crucifixion of his flesh, two things happen. The flesh is out of power and he is filled with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:17). Every Christian’s flesh was crucified when he received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. A believer continues to experience the crucifixion of his flesh and he is filled with the Holy Spirit as he continues to live out the five commands found in Romans 6:11-13.

A believer who goes forward experiencing his oneness with Christ can and will live out the new covenant that Jesus brought into being. He will be free from the danger of living out the old covenant.

If we are not living out our union with Christ, we are not living out the new covenant that Jesus brought into being through His crucifixion, burial and resurrection.